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Push for gender equality

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Push for gender equality

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THE CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (CDB) is being advised to work with its development partners in an attempt to achieve economic gender equality in Barbados.

It received several recommendations after commissioning a country gender assessment. The 118-page study was prepared by Caroline F. Allen and Juliette Maughan of Rawwida Baksh and Associates.

After conducting an analysis of challenges, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths, the researchers proposed “specific entry points” for the Barbados-based CDB to assist.

Its recommendations included: support gender-responsive budgeting; promote and develop a flexible employment framework; increase child care and care for other dependents; increase access to capital among women; reform and support poverty alleviation programmes; support entrepreneurship and business education in schools; support gender equality training and education; assist the Bureau of Gender Affairs in developing economic strategies for gender equality.

The CDB was also advised to help increase capacity for political leadership among women; play a strategic role in supporting the strengthening of systems to improve gender data; promote the ongoing analysis and use of existing sex-disaggregated data and increase the production and dissemination of sex-disaggregated data.

The report concluded: “In Barbados, relatively high national income per capita exists alongside a large informal sector and welfare benefits that are less extensive than in some developed countries.

“Increasing gender equality from an economic standpoint must start from understanding local conditions, not just of production in formal employment settings but of production in the informal economy and of social reproduction and the sexual division of labour with regard to each.”

The CDB said the country gender assessment was “part of an initiative to conduct ten in implementing its 2008 Gender Equality Policy and Operational Strategy.

Barbados’ assessment aimed to uncover the links between gender equality and the different socio-economic life chances of women and men; critically analyse the national capacity for gender mainstreaming; and identify constraints, opportunities and risks for promotion of gender equality and implications for development effectiveness. (SC)